Isaiah Quintabe (known to his friends as IQ) is a new and unique detective character. He doesn’t have a Ph.D. like Alex Delaware. Or a PI’s license like Kinsey Millhone. He’s just a young guy who dropped out of high school because it was more important to pay the bills.

In his rough, working-class neighborhood of East Long Beach, California a guy with off-the-chart smarts still ends up working at a fast food place. Until his neighbors find out about his inductive reasoning skills. He starts helping people who fall victim to predatory sales people, or who need to find a runaway kid. And people pay what they can, which suits IQ just fine.

But sometimes he needs a real paycheck kind of case, and that’s what this book centers on. Isaiah‘s frenemy, Dodson, knows a guy who knows a big-time rapper. And someone’s out to kill this rapper, using some pretty unorthodox methods. The potential paycheck is huge, as are the risks. Plus, IQ must let Dodson play “number two” detective which adds to the general tension. Still, Isaiah has little choice but to go all in and find the killer.

My conclusions

Isaiah is the creation of author, Joe Ide. Which, by the way, is pronounced Ee-day, since it’s a Japanese American name. Ide does a fantastic job of weaving today with the past, covering how IQ became so independent and also confident in his skills. He doesn’t hesitate to tell the difficult and dramatic parts of Isaiah’s past, which only makes his main character more admirable.

Ide adds a strong supporting character in Dodson, who also lightens the mood with his cocky attitude and ridiculous challenges to IQ’s thought process. Their history is complex but not surprising, considering their neighborhood.

As for the mystery IQ must solve, it had enough layers to keep me involved. Ide lays it out logically, and doesn’t throw nonsensical twists into the plot line. He gets deep inside Isaiah’s reasoning process, which is pretty darn fascinating.

I appreciate having a detective in the genre who doesn’t rely on police connections or attorney privilege. Isaiah is an Everyman character who feels universal, if you don’t count his gigantic intellect. I’ll definitely pick up the next books in the series, and recommend IQ to friends.